01 July 2013
Shine Project helps teenage girls rediscover worth
Photo: Shine project participant
This project has been nominated for the 2013 Inspire awards run by Inspire magazine in partnership with us at the Evangelical Alliance.
Young teenage girls are all too often growing up without a sense of identity, self-worth or purpose in an image-focused culture full of broken relationships, instability and hollow promises.
The Shine Project, now in its seventh year, aims to help teenage girls recognise, with confidence, that they have worth, strength and purpose.
The Bournemouth-based project, a non-profit making registered charity, encourages these young girls to discover their intrinsic value, based on Christian perspectives. This helps them understand their capacity to make choices and to recognise they have an important role in society.
Shine programmes are outworked through 17 secondary schools across the Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch area and have a ready acceptance in local schools, with staff realising the desperate need to address these issues among girls.
The main programme, an eight-week course, looks at issues including flaws of the media, respect and etiquette, understanding emotions, healthy eating and coping with bullying. Practical workshops run by local professionals include skin and nail care, hairdressing and makeup. The girls are treated to a meal at the end of the course allows the girls to begin to put into practice all that they have learnt.
The course, uniquely, seeks to underpin the government's five targets of the 2004 Children's Act that "every child matters" and the programmes fit as part of the school curriculum or as an after-school club.
Jim Stockley, Shine project co-ordinator, said: "We want to invest in the girl's futures, providing a much needed source of support and inspiration. The majority of girls see a significant rise in their self-esteem and feel transformed during the eight-week course. We help girls understand they are created in the image of God.
"We also bring voluntary agencies together to transform the lives of young women in the local area. Shine hopes to be a permanent, positive influence and beneficial to the whole community."
One of the girls who participated said: "Shine has completely changed the way I think about myself." Another said: "I have learnt to be much more comfortable with myself." "It helped me realise that I am unique and meet new people," said another participant.
Rev Jenny Nightingale, Bishop of Winchester School, said: "Following the huge uptake of the course, and the plea from unsuccessful students in gaining a place, the Shine team put on another course. The students had a great time learning to appreciate who they are from the inside out. The girls were very excited, appreciated the time and attention given to them, made friends, and had fun along the way. Thank you Shine."